Traveling with Recent COVID-19 Infection: How to Get a ‘Documentation of Recovery’ Letter to Be Cleared to Travel

With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting all parts of the world and air travel increasing the chance of contracting COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just published new rules for international travelers returning to the United States. 

The most important change for international travelers to know about is that as of January 26, 2021, the CDC requires all returning passengers to present a negative COVID PCR or antigen test which has been done within 72 hours of departure.

What if I Had a Recent COVID-19 Infection and Need to Travel?

One of the issues with recent COVID-19 infections is that a patient may still test positive for weeks after the infection has resolved. A positive COVID-19 test in a patient with no more symptoms who recovered from COVID likely means that the test is detecting non-infectious virus fragments and the patient is not infectious anymore. However, since the CDC now requires a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test for all returning travelers, this will cause issues to anyone who recently recovered from a COVID-19 infection and wishes to fly to the United States.

Thankfully the CDC is aware of this dilemma and therefore allows recovered COVID-19 patients to return to the US under the following conditions:

  • Met the criteria to end self-isolation (see below)
  • Proof of a recent COVID-19 infection (a positive COVID-19 PCR or antigen test result–home tests (self-tests) are not valid
  • Letter from a healthcare provider that you have been cleared for travel (‘Documentation of Recovery‘)

This will allow international travelers to return to the United States, even with a positive COVID-19 rest.

What Are the Criteria to End Self-Isolation

Per the CDC, you may end self-quarantine (and therefore may be cleared by a doctor to travel) when the following three criteria are met:

  • 10 days have passed since your COVID-symptoms first started and
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other COVID-related symptoms are getting better

How Do I Obtain a ‘Documentation of Recovery’ to Be Cleared to Travel?

This note can be obtained from a licensed physician or health official and needs to state that the traveler has recovered from the COVID-19 infection and is no longer infectious and cleared to travel.

QuickMD has long been specializing in travel-related care, like travel prescriptions, doctor’s notes for travel (i.e. fit to fly notes etc) and all QuickMD doctors can provide you with the required letter to clear you to travel–as per the CDC requirements.

To obtain a CDC-compliant ‘Documentation of Recovery Letter’, please book an appointment with one of the QuickMD doctors to connect with them either via video or phone. The cost for the telemedicine visit is $75, which includes the ‘Documentation of Recovery’. Shortly after your consultation, the note will be emailed to you in PDF format (printed on our official letterhead, as required by the CDC).

January 28, 2021

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